Jan 25, 2023
Description: Giovanni Gubbels is an entrepreneur, international businessman, and the CEO and founder of ChainCargo, a tech transportation logistics company with the mission of bridging the gap between technology and logistics.
In this episode, Giovanni and I had a fantastic conversation about adopting the top sports mindset in your business and managing a business effectively. Join us in this insightful conversation.
Connect with Giovanni:
LinkedIn: Giovanni Gubbels
Connect with James:
06:00 Gio's childhood, the basis for his becoming. For everyone succeeding in their fields, there is a story. Good or bad, it shapes us into becoming who and what we are.
Gio takes us on a journey to his childhood.
Gio: "I grew up in a safe environment. My family is close to me. My dad was a Marine, or still is, for a few more months, and then he would be a coach with early retirement.
So yeah, it was like manly surroundings when he was home, but he was also often away because of his job. So I bonded well with my mom. But later on, because of also having my father figure away and back and away and back, I started changing because of that. My dad had different expectations. He was over-protecting and setting high targets, which he still loves to do. But also, looking back, it changed my behavior".
07:45 Lessons from the cradle. Childhood lessons are meant to keep us grounded as we go through life. We often need to remember many of them, but Gio shares some of them.
Gio, "The big thing my dad always said was assumptions, do not make assumptions. That's also with the listening part. If you listen carefully to someone else, you'll start making assumptions, and there's where many things go wrong.
Also, to give, to get what you want, you need to give. So you need to work for it, you need to do it, you need to try it".
11:00 The thin line between sport and business. Over time, we have rightfully seen the bromance going on between sports and business. They are so alike that it's a huge plus for one when you have the other. Gio explains how having sporting experience influences his business life.
Gio: "I started pretty young, and I could play quite some ball on an amateur level, and the biggest learning curve was there.
In sports, you need to practice. You need to keep doing it, getting better every day. You get to work with disappointments. You cannot do it alone because in soccer, you have eleven people on the pitch, people on the bench, et cetera, and you need to do it together.
Sports have helped me become who I am. Teamwork, discipline, practice, receiving feedback from a coach, and just working towards something like that are all that help.
And that resonates well with business owners. For me, it's like running a business is a top sports mentality. Yeah, it will be hard if you don't have that".
13:35 The Vision behind Chain Cargo. Gio talks a bit about what his company is about and the idea behind its start-up.
Gio: "Chain Cargo is a tech company. We are creating software for the logistics space, and the service that we offer is like organizing transportation from A to B, for shippers, for trucking transportation, for vans, et cetera. And the thing we do differently than others is that we are focused on our carrier.
If you look worldwide, but I take the US for an example, there are a lot of trucking companies, but 98% only exist out of 20 trucks or less. So imagine that many trucking companies do their planning and their organizations on Excel, other than doing it in an old system or using a SaaS model or anything. But imagine that all those different companies are like having their planning, their customers, their agents, et cetera. It means that the market needs to be more cohesive. And we all know, at least the people in logistics, that there are a lot of empty kilometers and mileage, a lot of debt mileage, how we call it, which are paid but not filled, but also like a lot of empty mileage, which is just not filled because they don't have a load.
Over the last few years, we have like a lot of capacity issues. And here's where you already go wrong. Like there is capacity, but we need to find out where. And I think here's where we come into the space where we are building software that we want to give out to the market for free in return for the data so we can make the invisible visible and start optimizing and utilizing the existing capacity on the road to flatten the climate curve and lower down the footprint in the supply chain".
15:30 Giovanni's view on business. Like success, the idea of what business is different for different individuals. Here is what Gio thinks business is about.
Gio: "I only sometimes feel that I'm running a business. A lot of stuff makes me feel it's a business, but that is the less fun side.
You must be aware of what you are trying to solve. And then what I try to solve is bigger than what my targeted avatar audience is, which is paying for the services. So I'm happy that I could pivot the problem I saw and the thing I want to solve, like the emissions and logistics, to a way that we can impact that and make money without having that part as a money maker".
19:48 The challenges in recruiting team members for a start-up business.
Trying to get people to not only believe your visions and ideas but also join and help grow your business can take time and effort. Here is how Gio jumped this huddle.
Gio: "You need to imagine that I quit my corporate job. I was 24 or 25, and I quit my corporate job to start for myself, started doing some consultancy, and eventually, a year later, started Chain Cargo. So I was also convincing myself that I knew that they could do it.
But I think through the full journey, if you have people who start working with you, you are hiring and stuff, that's already like a game changer that people are leaving their job to work with you in your company in exchange for a salary of course, but still, they make that leap when you don't have anything, you don't have any customers yet you still need to build the software, you just have a story, and they believe in it. So that's something that touched me at a certain point.
The most difficult thing was being a venture capitalist. So we tried, my partners and myself, to merge all the money we earned on consultancy on the side because we were running two businesses, to pay all the salaries to keep growing.
The further you get, your focus will shift, revenue is getting more important, and growth figures are getting more important. You get more opinions because you get more people who also have their ideas, who also have their problems at home. So, you get to deal with a lot of stuff. And for me, we grew hard. We did a good job".
24:00 Tools to arm yourself with when thinking about starting a business.
Experience is always the best teacher. It is a great deal to learn the rudiments of a new skill or business you are interested in from the ones far ahead.
Gio tells us some things start-up business owners should know to prepare themselves better.
Gio "There are several factors in play, and it's purely personal because I don't know how it is for others, but I'm not a writer; I'm more a doer. So I'm from something other than big fancy business plans, not doing and crafting it on the way and just trying to keep on pivoting on your experiences. That, for me, is a big thing. But as I also said, like, top sports mentality, you will get setbacks, so be prepared for that.
It was Brian Donovan who said a few years ago when he was on a retreat in Long Island that running a business is going from crisis to crisis. You only need to manage to have the prices as small as possible and see it coming on time.
And I know it's really hard because it's your baby, but you also need the resources to work at the business instead of the business. Hiring experience is really important, do it as early as possible. It may seem expensive, maybe in your budget, but it delivers so much back and allows you to focus on the bigger picture"
28:50 Keeping the top sports mindset in business.
Gio lets us in on how he has maintained maximum energy and a top sports mindset in his business.
Gio "What personally helped me is that since I started the company, I got coaching for mindset, my traumas, and business coaching, like I experienced with you, which helped.
Sometimes, It's hard because you don't always see it yourself. And that's why I also came back to coaching. I have always been doing it myself in logistics for eight years, so I knew from the bottom up what I was doing, like every detail. And it helped till today that everyone around me also sees me like he is doing the job. He's leading by doing and not by telling or instructing.
For me, you're not doing it alone, but the rest is also not doing it for you. You need to do it together, and you need to play as a team. And everyone has his role, and if somebody is having a bad day, you need to step in".
40:10 Handling uncertainty as a business owner. The fear of the unknown can be a crippling force if it's not managed properly. Here is how Gio handles uncertainty in the face of Crisis.
Gio: "For me, flexibility and adjustment are key. And it's also a mindset thing. I struggle with the fact this is not possible, or it's not going to work, or it doesn't work like this. It's fine that it doesn't work or what else? But I want to hear what's possible.
So if I ask you, for example, can you drink that full bottle of water at once and you say that's not possible, but you can also suggest, maybe that's a little bit too much, but let's take it in several sips. My mind only works constantly, and that's why I struggle with it. If something happens, I'm only thinking about the possibilities, and it makes it easier to deal with uncertainties; you are wired like this.
Are there new opportunities? Where can I shift my energy? Do I need to shift the things around me to get further and create, constantly create 'rest' for everyone? Because if you panic, the rest will panic".
50:10 Gio's intentionality with leadership.
Effective leadership is such a core part of every community, especially in business.
Gio tells us how important channeling his inner child into his leadership role is.
Gio: "So, for me, the inner child, you could say it's a gut feeling, it's the real you, the one who's not thinking, the playful one, the child in you. When you're young, you don't know the rules. You don't know anything. You just do you. And because of the changing behavior of doing things for others to look good, be better and not listen to the things I wanted, I was pushing it away.
So by understanding who I am and who I got to be doing the work, I realized that it was suppressing my spontaneous thoughts and my spontaneous decisions. So, yeah, there is a big thing for me that nowadays I'm working and listening way more to my inner child.
Still enough, but it makes life easier because it can be that easy. If your body is saying full yes to something, why shouldn't you do it? Why are you going to play the card yourself? Like, oh, yeah, but maybe this, or maybe they will think this".
59:46 In his last words, Gio says;
"We are living in a society where everyone has an opinion, where everyone tries to be looking good towards the outside world. But I want everyone to know that what seems to be successful from the outside can also be lonely.
And you always do it really for yourself. So forget the rest. Just do your thing and make sure you live your life to your fullest opinion. Doesn't matter only if you listen to it. Stay in your lane, shoot your shot, play your game".